Certification of solar glass for PV application


By Stefan Brunold, Deputy Director, Institute for Solar Technology SPF; Florian Ruesch, Project Leader, Institute for Solar Technology SPF; Lukas Omlin, Research Engineer, Institute for Solar Technology SPF

The SPF solar glass certification was developed in 2002 to guarantee the quality of glazing for use as a transparent cover for solar thermal collectors. More than 200 glass types from leading manufacturers have been measured and certified to date. Despite the certification having been explicitly developed for solar thermal applications, it became widely used in the PV module industry, even though the results are not transferable and may lead to erroneous conclusions in some cases. In 2012 the certification was therefore adapted to the needs of the PV industry, and a dedicated PV solar glass certification has since been available. This paper explains the fundamentals of the certification process, which consists of three performance characterizations: 1) transmissivity, 2) incident angle modifier (IAM), and 3) UV degradation. Results are discussed for different representative glass types, including float glass, anti-reflective-coated glass and rolled glass with different structures. Furthermore, the performance of these glass types when used as covers of crystalline silicon PV
modules is compared. The examples presented also highlight the advantages of the adapted characterization methods compared with standard glass measurements.

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This issue of Photovoltaics International, our 23rd, offers key insights into some of the technologies that are ready to move from lab to fab in support of these goals. ISC Konstanz offer a glimpse of what the low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells of the future might look like. On page 35 the institute’s authors give an overview of what they call Konstanz’ “technology zoo”, encompassing their so-called BiSoN, PELICAN and ZEBRA cell concepts, all of which are aimed at increasing energy yield at the lowest possible cost.

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